|The Word Came to Jeremiah|
|The New Covenant|
|Jeremiah Buys a Field|
|The Promise of Peace|
|How Secure is God’s Covenant?|
If you want a single word to describe someone who is distinctively depressing, a real ‘half-empty’ man, then he is called a ‘Jeremiah’. It is true that for 39 years God gave Jeremiah the unenviable task of warning Judah of the coming judgement for their idol worship and unrepentant, ungodly ways. Jeremiah did not volunteer for this. He was just a reliable, local, obedient priest carefully chosen by God. But in 587 BC Judgement came in the shape of Nebuchadnezzar and his mighty army that was surrounding Jerusalem. Jeremiah had been imprisoned by the evil, two-faced king Zedekiah. And no, there was not going to be any ‘houdini’ type escape. Any idea that God might repeat his deliverance of a century earlier when under the righteous king Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, he had sent an angel to slay 185,000 men in Sennacherib’s army and not even a single Assyrian arrow would be shot into Jerusalem. No, this time there was no repentance and no calling upon the name of the Lord for deliverance. God’s repeated word was that the city and even the Temple would be completely destroyed and the people exiled to Babylon in 586 BC. Into this disaster zone, the faithful Almighty God gave a vision of the future to his faithful prophet. Jeremiah carefully recorded it all in these 4 chapters of the most beautiful Hebrew poetry. Thankfully it has been translated into English so that we may appreciate it too.
Today the Western world is so similar to Judah in Jeremiah’s day. A rapid slide into discarding Almighty God, embracing wickedness, and living in growing fear for the planet, various mass protests and endless destruction through war. Not to mention the Great Tribulation prophesied in God’s Word. Into this situation God has given us these 4 chapters, 9 pages, that reveal the redeemed in the presence of God in his future kingdom of righteousness. The restoration of his ‘chosen people’ and much more on a grand scale. The ‘half-empty’ prophet has written the most beautiful, uplifting assurance to God’s believing people. Jesus Christ, the ‘Faithful and True’, the ‘Word of God’, the ‘King of kings and Lord of Lords’ (Rev 1911,13,16) has complete control of this world and all that he has created. Yes, there will come a Judgement. But the eternal righteous kingdom of God is equally certain.
Thank you Lord for calling such a persevering prophet.
Jeremiah, you are not depressing, but are such a bright, shining star.
Please forgive our common misunderstanding of your truthful writings.
The Word Came to Jeremiah [Contents]
Jer 301 opens with: The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel ...”
We would do well to recognise this as being true. What Jeremiah wrote is indeed the word of Almighty God to all who read it. It is not the words of some politician, a newspaper editor or religious crank, but GOD, the Designer and Creator of everything in the universe! To ignore it must be the ultimate folly of man.
Jeremiah uses the phrase “thus says the Lord, or “declares the Lord” no less than 186 times in his 51 chapters.
What does God say and tell him to write in a book?
“For behold, days are coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.” Jer 303
The Lord has fulfilled this twice. When he told Cyrus, king of Persia, told the Jews that they could return to Jerusalem from their slavery in Babylon. And then again today under the 1922 San Remo Agreement and in 1947 the UN Article 181. In 1922 the Arab nations willingly signed the agreement, but in 1947/1948 they immediately declared war on the newly formed Israel, which they lost. They also lost the Six day war in 1967 and the Yom Kippur war in 1973. The fundamental truth is that the world strongly objects to God fulfilling his plan for Israel; or anything else for that matter. They do not acknowledge that The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Ps 241
And they especially hate the covenant that the Lord God made with Abraham.
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. Gen 177,8
God tells Jeremiah that it will therefore be a time of great anguish.
We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace ...
Alas! That day is so great there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. Jer 305,7
None the less God says, And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, ... I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you. Jer 308,11 ‘That day’ awaits the time of God’s choosing. But it will soon come.
This year Israel has endured a split between the religious orthodox and the non-religious, between the God fearing and the God rejecting. The war in Gaza has put this on hold for the time (Oct 2023). But it still needs to be healed.
For thus says the Lord: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous.
There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound ...
because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant ...
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal,
declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast:
It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ Jer 3012-17
Jeremiah is told that although man cannot heal Israel’s rejection of God,
the Lord, who cares, has planned to heal Israel.
Furthermore, “Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will restore the fortunes
of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings ...
And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Jer 3018,22
How will the Lord achieve this healing?
In the latter days you will understand this.
At that time, declares the Lord,
“I will be the God of all the clans of Israel,
and they shall be my people.”
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jer 311-3
The day is coming when the currently non-religious in Israel will call on the Lord.
For this day we pray earnestly and with expectation. God has promised.
For thus says the Lord: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob ...
O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’
Behold, I will bring them from the north country
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth ...
With weeping they shall come,
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel...
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
And they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord. Jer 317-12
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
“Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities,
when I restore their fortunes:
‘The Lord bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!’
For I will satisfy the weary soul,
and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jer 3123-25
God revealed this truth to the imprisoned Jeremiah
while the Babylonian army tramped around Jerusalem with the siege works.
His heart saw and believed what God would do in partl 700 years later,
when the Son of God would come and redeem all who repent and believe,
Jews and Gentiles.
Also some 2,700 years later when Jesus will return as king,
and establish his eternal kingdom of the righteous redeemed.
Such was Jeremiah’s God-given faith.
He saw what was also shown to the prophet Zechariah. Zech 1210 131
I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child ... On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. Jer 3126
And he wasn’t able to say that very often!!
The New Covenant [Contents]
The Old Covenant was based upon the Law and also upon faith in the sacrifices made for the inevitable breaking of the law.
The New Covenant revealed to Jeremiah was that God would write the law on our hearts instead of reading the law on a scroll.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer 3131-34
The Old Covenant looked forward to the sacrifice that would have to be made.
The New Covenant looks to the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
Even though the law is written upon our heart, we are still prone to break it,
and thus need the daily forgiveness of Jesus.
Of this we can be assured, that he will not remember our sin.
God’s revelation to Jeremiah primarily referred to the standing of the nation.
How sure can Israel be that Almighty God will forgive and not condemn them?
Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
“If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”
Thus says the Lord:
“If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.” Jer 3135-37
God’s clear but often misunderstood answer is that Israel will always be God’s chosen people. He may punish, discipline or even exile them,
but they will always be the chosen people
and the land of Israel will always be God’s gift to them.
Obviously this does not include a ‘backdoor’ to heaven for all Jews.
This was God’s eternal, unconditional covenant to Abraham aged 99:
“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” Gen 177,8
Satan has always done his best to deceive men as he did with Adam and Eve:
“Did God really say ....” YES!! God has clearly declared this truth.
Jeremiah Buys a Field [Contents]
This little story is all about pure naked faith in the Lord God that the great majority would declare to be absolutely crazy. But Jeremiah had learned over his years as God’s prophet that God was faithful and truthful in all that he revealed.
We are given the details. It was the 10th year of Zedekiah, Babylon was besieging Jerusalem and Jeremiah was imprisoned. Just the time for a little speculative purchase of some land just outside the city where the Babylonians were camped.
If ever there was an example of ‘God’s ways not being our ways’, this was it.
“The word of the Lord came to me: Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the field. Jer 326-9
Of course Jeremiah knew that he would never grow anything in the field. That was not why God told him to buy it. God had a future plan; not 10, 20 or even 100 years ahead, but at least 2,600 years in the distant future. Jeremiah instructed his writer saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’ Jer 3214,15
God was making it clear that though Jerusalem and the Temple were about to be totally destroyed and the Jews that did not die would be exiled, there would come a day when God would bring them back. And it would be Jews, not Muslims or Hindu’s, who would be buying and selling the land. It is Almighty God who has and always will have control over his earth. That is the purpose of this apparently crazy transaction. Isn’t God wonderful and so compassionate?
Modern Jerusalem is built on about 20 feet of rubble from repeated destructions. One day an archeologist digging in the rubble will find the clay pot in which Baruch so carefully sealed and buried the deeds. And once more the Word of God will be vindicated and proved accurate. Some will be embarrassed, but others will be so excited they will sing for a week - and if alive, I will be with them even if my voice is a bit husky!
Jeremiah recorded his prayer. ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed ... Jer 3217-19
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them ... for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.” Jer 3226, 40-42
The Promise of Peace [Contents]
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time ... I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. Jer 331-9
God promise to Jerusalem is not just a physical return and restoration; it is far, far more.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’.” Jer 3314-16
Although the Son of God came; it was not his purpose then to be king, but to gain our redemption. Great David’s greater Son is coming again soon as king. He will then defeat all his enemies who will attack Jerusalem. This is confirmed by the prophet Zechariah. See Zech 12 and 14.
How Secure is God’s Covenant? [Contents]
God is always faithful to his word. His ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and his ‘No’, ‘No’.
But just to make sure we understand this the Lord repeats these assurances:
1. “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne ...” Jer 3320,21
2. “Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” Jer 3325,26
After all this revelation from the Lord God, there can be no other conclusion: Jeremiah had a tough calling which he faithfully fulfilled. And at the end he was entrusted with such an amazing vision of God’s future plan that it enables him to bring greater blessing, a surer hope and a more certain faith than maybe any other of the Old Testament prophets.